Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Making of a Samus

The following is how we turned one Jaimi Bain into an intergalactic warrior:
This is the "before the storm" photo.  We moved our kitchen table into the craft space, bought a dremel tool, and stocked up on super glue.
This is an early prototype session in Oswego.  Jaimi's armor was created first in paper.  She had a chest piece to make, along with upper arms, one forearm, ribs, abs, thighs, and shins to create.  The gray stuff Jaimi is sitting on came from Big Lots.  It is some kind of workshop floor foam material.  It was really cheap and ended up in a lot of our costume elements.
 This is the first PVC tube we used for the arm cannon.  It had a 4" diameter to hold a Nerf gun.  This idea was abandoned as the gun could not be chopped down enough to fit in the pipe.  Jaimi is sporting a lovely one piece body suit that was the bottom layer of her suit.  Already, she is having Samus-like tendencies.  Had I been a space pirate, I would not be writing this post right now.
Jaimi experimented with a couple types of cloth to use for the armor pieces.  This stuff was a bit too sparkly for our tastes.  The ab pieces in this picture are made out of the gray stuff.  We eventually went with craft foam.  The gray stuff didn't bend enough to follow the shape of Jaimi's rippling abs.  Jaimi built a bathing suit around the black suit and we created pockets in the outer suit to insert the craft foam.
This is a picture of Jaimi taking a well earned craft break.

This is the second (and final) version of the arm cannon.  We downgraded to a 3" PVC pipe.  We used a 3"-2" adapter to cap it off with.  We once again employed the gray stuff to wrap around the pipe to give it dimension and texture.  Then came the fun part.  I went into my big old box of old electronics and started disemboweling devices.  My old camera and CD player fell victim.  Then I basically glued random bits of cool looking electronics to the cannon.  My favorite parts are the camera lens in the end of the cannon and the half of a half gig of ram.
 Also at Big Lots, I found an absolute gem.  This is a toy plane that lit up and made noises at the push of a wire remote button.  It has four super bright LEDs and a speaker.  These all got stuffed into the head of the cannon.  They were positioned at Jaimi's fingertips for easy use.  The result was that Jaimi could either "charge up"  or "fire" her arm cannon.  Also pictured is the failed Nerf gun.
I added a couple lines of Glowire and a ring around the muzzle.  I got it from  I had a lot of practice with Glowire; which was good because the soldering process was a little tricky.  The arm cannon got a silver/green paint treatment...and VIOLA!
This picture was probably taken quite late at night.  The chest piece was also made of the gray stuff.  It was connected to the rib piece and could be snapped on one side for removal.  The other arm pieces were made of the gray stuff and covered in shiny cloth.  The cloth was attached with a combination of spray adhesive, super glue, and gorilla tape.
We found these great Hannah Montana child bike helmets on clearance at Wal Mart.  This was after several failed attempts to make shoulder pads.  We tried to find the appropriate sized hamster balls and we tried foam soccer balls covered in bondo.  The Hannah method was definitely the way to go.
Step one was to de-Hannah them.  The denim layer was removed, the straps cut off, and I removed about a third of each helmet.  You will once again notice the use of the gray stuff.  To get the edges to come together nicely, I used a grinding bit on the Dremel tool to bevel the edges.  The gray stuff responds very well to super glue.
They were then oranged.
And with a light coat of gold, they were complete.  We found a couple buttons at JoAnn fabrics to add to the strap holes.  I removed the styrofoam insides and fiberglassed some metal loops inside for clipping onto the chest piece.  Shown is the right shoulder with Scott Kurtz's signature.

The thigh pieces were a combination of the gray stuff and craft foam.  The shin pieces were attached to some cheap boots via a zip tie system up the back.  The lights on the hips were LED safety lights from Big Lots.

We met with the band Metroid Metal.  They were pretty excited to have a real, live Samus.  We had a great time at PAX.  The effort of putting these costumes together was definitely worth it.

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